Diamond push-ups are a progression of the traditional push-up, meaning they’re a more challenging variation of the original.

If you’re looking for a new bodyweight challenge that shifts muscle focus and helps you to develop strength and endurance, this exercise is a great one to do that.

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How do you do a diamond push-up?

Diamond push-ups get their name from the shape your hands make when you position them on the floor. They’re also referred to as close-grip push-ups.

To do a diamond push-up:

1. Adopt the same starting plank position you would for a standard push up but bring your hands much closer together to touch your opposite thumbs and opposite index fingers. By doing this, you’ll form a diamond shape in the space between your hands.

2. Maintaining a flat back throughout, lower yourself down to within an inch of the floor by bending at the elbows. Aim for a 45-degree angle between your upper arms and torso, rather than flaring your elbows out to the sides.

3. Once at the bottom of the movement, pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position by fully extending the arms. Try not to lock out the elbows at the top.

Commonly asked questions on diamond push-ups

What muscles do diamond push-ups work?

Whereas a classic push-up aims to target the chest muscles as the primary mover, this close-grip version shifts the focus to the triceps at the back of the upper arm.

However, both versions are brilliant compound exercises that also engage various muscles from across the body.

On top of using the triceps as the driver of the movement, diamond push-ups also use the chest muscles and the muscles at the back of the shoulder to assist it. The biceps, stomach muscles, and thighs are also engaged to stabilise the body throughout.

Target muscle: Triceps

Additional muscles: Pectorals, Deltoids, Biceps, Abdominals, Obliques, Quadriceps

What’s the difference between a diamond push up and a regular push up?

The key difference between a diamond or close grip push-up and the original version is the position of the hands.

By placing the hands closer together, more of the tricep muscles contract to perform the movement. By placing the hands further apart, more of the chest muscles contract to perform the action.

Because the chest muscles are a much larger muscle group than the triceps and subsequently a lot stronger, the diamond push up is much more difficult and you’ll likely reach failure a lot quicker.

How do you progress to a diamond push up?

If you’re ready to take on a new challenge, but can’t quite achieve many diamond push-ups yet, it helps to perform some other tricep focused exercises on building strength in the back of the arm.

Tricep pull-downs are a great isolated exercise that can help focus your attention to the back of the arm and build strength. Aim for 4 sets of 10 reps in your upper body workout.

Tricep dips are a whole-body exercise that recruits the core to stabilise you. As you also need your core during the push-up and might find it fails you when your triceps tire, there’s a significant benefit to training both these areas in advance of your diamond push-ups. You can use a dip station or a bench to perform these.

Adding these exercises to your workout routine will encourage progress and help you perform diamond push-ups in just a few weeks.

What other push-up variations are there?

There are so many push-up variations to try, regardless of your current strength levels and ability. They’re one of the best exercises for the upper body, with each offering slightly different benefits. Make sure to find space for them in your workout routine.

For beginners, try:

  • Wall push-ups
  • Diamond wall push-ups
  • Box push-ups
  • Incline push-ups
  • Diamond incline push-ups
  • Knee push-ups
  • Diamond knee push-ups

For more advanced exercisers, try:

  • Pike push-ups
  • Clap push-ups
  • Staggered push-ups
  • Decline push-ups
  • Single-arm push-ups
  • Wide push-ups